Fanless Computer

No Dust Bunnies This Easter…

No Dust Bunnies This Easter…

 

Finding dust build up inside a fan-cooled computer is like finding traffic in LA. It’s always there no matter how much you try to avoid it. Thousands of hours of fan-driven air movement and electrostatic charges make the internals of a PC or laptop a prime dust magnet. From a functional perspective, collected dust, dirt, hair and debris sucked into the computer can cause overheating by insulating vital components and blocking vents. When intake vents get clogged up, the exhaust fans will pull air through every other hole in the case, eventually clogging them with dust and fuzz particles as well.

 

What does all this dust being circulated around mean for the world outside the computer? Anyone with allergies knows that it means an absolutely miserable day. In a work or hospital setting, the amount of lint and filth floating around from computer fans can be potentially harmful, especially to those experiencing compromised health situations. So how does one ensure better air quality and clean PC internals when considering computer systems for an office? An industrial or medical grade fanless computer from Tangent will absolutely hit that mark.

 

Most every computer that Tangent produces operates completely fanless and without any moving parts. Fanless cooling is achieved through conduction, or passive cooling, techniques along with processing components that give off less heat.  Modern CPUs can run with less power than before and at a cooler rate. Solid state hard drives have no moving parts and therefore are immensely cooler than standard disc hard drives. The LED backlit LCDs on the fanless computers also have low power consumption and heat output, and the cast aluminum or stainless steel chassis casings absorb any internal heat and dissipates it like a heat sink. Fanless computers save on power, reduce all computer noise, and do not circulate dust and contaminants.

Fanless Industrial Computer
Fanless F15 Industrial Computer

Tangent’s professional fanless computer lines, the medical grade T, C, and E series, or the industrial grade KW and S series are the culmination of decades of advances in technology to reduce power consumption, increase speed, maximize durability and reliability, and provide a safe, clean working environment for its users. So much effort has gone into packing Tangent’s fanless computers with tons of features and options while still ensuring that they won’t overheat or fail. Many consumer grade PCs and laptops are moving towards a fanless model, but unless high quality components and construction are employed, as with industrial grade computers, there’s no guarantee for performance or longevity.

 

medical grade computer

3 Essential Features of Medical Computers

3 Essential Features of Medical Computers

 

“Medical grade computer” isn’t a label you can slap on anything off the shelf. Understandably, there are stringent regulations around what can be considered a safe computer component for use around patients in healthcare environments or in highly sanitary conditions. Medical computers are designed to be installed in a variety of areas in a hospital or care center like medical stations and carts, wall mounted arms, or even patient lobbies, and they often have features like barcode scanners, internal batteries, or card readers to further provide desirable clinical utility. The following are three major requirements to be considered a medical computer.

EN60601-certified

UL/IEC60601-1 Certification

This certification is granted when a medical electrical device undergoes and successfully passes testing for safety and performance compliance with CDC guidelines for environmental infection control, electric shock prevention, and isolation precautions. It is a guarantee of reliability and assurance that the medical computer won’t cause harm to clinical staff or patients. Tangent’s line of medical computers have all been thoroughly tested and certified.

 

IP Rating, International Protection Marking

The IP rating of a mechanical casing and/or electrical enclosure classifies and rates the degree of protection it provides against intrusion by any number of external forces. The ratings list specific foreign objects and water pressure forces that the enclosure of the device is effective against. Most of Tangent’s medical computers are sealed and protected with an IP65 rating. This indicates that the medical computer is dust tight and ingress of any foreign particle will not occur. The IP65 rating also means that the device can safely be sprayed down with water jets from a nozzle. Thus, the medical computer can be sanitized with cleansers and water and will not harbor any contaminants or dust, which is crucial for clinical settings.

antimicrobial

Antimicrobial Protection

Tangent’s medical grade computers are manufactured with antimicrobial agents embedded in the enclosure. The antimicrobial agent in the medical computer’s plastic is necessary to address patient and medical staff safety by preventing surface contamination and the spread of harmful pathogens, germs, or mold spores. Infection control initiatives are some of the top priorities in hospitals, making antimicrobial treatment incredibly important for computer equipment that is touched by many people and could transmit bacteria or other organisms to health compromised patients.

 

serial ports blog

Serial Ports, A Dated Yet Necessary Feature

Serial Ports, An Included Legacy Component

With as much new technology that Tangent packs into their all-in-one medical computers, one does not expect to see any sort of legacy components included. However, if you look at the I/O ports on the back of the Tangent M24T medical computer, something surprising is present: three RS-232 DB9 ports. For those of us that are not polished up on our knowledge of every serial port that ever existed, the RS-232 is a standard computer serial port for communication that dates back about five decades, and was used for a wide array of purposes like connections to modems, printers, mice, data storage, circuit protection, connectors, optoelectronics, passive components, uninterrupted power supplies, and more. This is all fine and dandy, but the questions still stand. What are serial ports from the 60s doing on new computers? What does this have to do with medical standards? Why don’t they just solely use USB?

Well, simply put, medical devices have varying ways of providing data to computers. Most still have uncomplicated serial ports, while newer ones have HDMI, ethernet or USB ports, depending on the protocol being used for communication.  A true medical computer needs to be able to fit the requirements of each medical device it’s connected to, as well as the clinical workflows of the medical facility and that particular care center’s IT environment. And the old RS-232 interface is an attractive alternative to the more temperamental digital interfaces for many medical device manufacturers because it’s robust, consistent, and easy to use. The adage of “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” applies heavily for the serial port standards in a great number of devices. Tangent’s dedication to providing convenience and value to medical care providers led to the inclusion of the trusted legacy ports. The M24T medical computer is able to connect to a kidney monitoring device, an ultrasound device, and a patient monitor using the serial ports, and still have 6 USB ports and an HDMI port free for other uses.

All the newer, fancy bells and whistles are bundled up into this incredible medical computer as well. It features a 24 inch PCAP touchscreen monitor, an Intel 6th generation Core i Series, fast memory up to 32GB, and high-performance NVMe storage. The M24T medical computer also has fanless cooling by way of heat pipes, it’s own internal speakers, and optional webcam and RFID. The medical computer has an uninterrupted power supply battery for up to 30 minutes of operation during a power loss event, and of course, is factory treated with an antimicrobial coating to ward off the spread of infection from bacteria or mold.

It’s easy to dismiss older technology as useless and disposable, but in the medical world, efficiency and consistency in the face of emergency situations often wins out over the new and questionable. Yes, strides are being made to upgrade older hospital systems to modern standards, but change in these sorts of environments can be slow. With so many devices still relying on legacy ports, it makes sense that medical computers still cater to their needs.

Antimicrobial Screens

The Antimicrobial Screen Advantage

Any surface can be a breeding ground for bacteria and germs, and that is a particularly troubling fact when it comes to health compromised patients in hospitals. The CDC’s website states that about one in 31 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection.  Devices that are touched by both patients and doctors, like medical equipment and computers, can pose a significant risk of spreading contagions. Unlike a doorknob or a handrail, consumer computers and devices are sensitive to harsh cleaning and being exposed to liquids and abrasive cleaners.

 

Your standard LCD monitor is not protected against liquid ingress and will malfunction upon contact with it.  Luckily, antimicrobial surface treatment technology has become quite advanced and companies like Tangent are producing medical grade LCD monitors that are not only treated with antimicrobial coatings, they are also protected against water damage so that they may be appropriately cleaned in line with hospital regulations.

 

Antimicrobial surfaces mainly work to suppress the growth of bacteria and harmful microorganisms, and stop the spread of microbes. In addition to deterring bacteria, germs and molds, the coating also minimizes stains and degradation of plastic on the surfaces they are applied to. Antimicrobial agents come in a variety of types like chlorhexidine, ammonium compounds, and silver.  

Medical-Monitor

Tangent’s flagship 22 inch medical LCD monitor has a cast aluminum chassis, is factory treated with an antimicrobial additive to battle surface contamination, and is rated an an IP65 protection level against dust, cleaning liquids and water. Because of big initiatives to improve in sanitation, prevention, care quality, and overall awareness, data from CDC’s hospital healthcare-associated infection prevalence surveys show significant reductions in overall healthcare-associated infection prevalence and central line prevalence between 2011 and 2015. And speaking of the CDC, Tangent’s medical LCD monitor is EN60601-1 certified to be compliant with CDC guidelines for environmental infection control and isolation precautions.

 

This 22″ LED backlit medical LCD monitor features a 16:9 aspect ratio widescreen display, a PCAP 2-point touchscreen, and on screen display buttons for power, brightness, and auto tune. A variety of mounting options like point of care carts, movable arms, or desktop stands are possible with the VESA 75 mounting bracket. The Tangent medical LCD monitor also comes with integrated speakers, a feature not often seen on a monitor. With the success of antimicrobial agents on medical devices to help prevent the spread of pathogens in clinical settings, the technology is now being sought for use in a wider setting like businesses and homes. Wherever the demand may be, Tangent’s medical grade LCD monitor is up to the task.

Medical tablets for sabitafions

Medical Tablets for Sanitation

Medical Tablets: Handheld and Sanitary Computer Solutions    

 

People tend to forget that public computers and touchscreens are prime breeding grounds for bacteria and infection. Just this week, a study done by a British newspaper, Metro, announced that they found gut and fecal bacteria on the touchscreen computers in all eight of the McDonald’s chain restaurants that they checked. The main bacteria found was coliform but the dangerous listeria bacteria was also found on some of the screens. The restaurant chain responded that the touchscreens are regularly cleaned, but how much stewardship and regulation goes into a restaurant’s computers cleanliness? There didn’t appear to be much foresight into how easily communicable germs and bacteria are.

It’s no small surprise that infection control is one of the top priorities within medical facilities. Any reputable hospital system has written and publicly published policies and procedures related to infection control for everything including computer equipment. An industrial panel PC from Tangent is the optimal choice for tackling the threat of infection. For example, the KW series panel PC is rated with an IP65 level of protection which precludes any sort of dust or contaminant ingress into the panel PC, and can also withstand direct water jets and cleaning solutions. The panel PC can be sprayed and wiped down an innumerable amount of times and never get damaged from it.

The industrial grade metal enclosure offers a rugged, corrosive resistant surface that is also treated with an antimicrobial coating to further protect patients and staff from the spread of infection. The inside of the panel PC also plays a large part in promoting cleanliness and durability. The computer operates entirely without fans or moving parts. Failures within a computer are often attributed to components that wear out. The Tangent panel PC requires less maintenance, has more uptime, and doesn’t blow any dust particles around.

Another feature that’s making panel PCs the new norm in medical facilities is their compact size and all-inclusiveness. Having no separate PC box or cabling drastically cuts down on the space needed. Keyboards and mice are notoriously hard to keep clean, so the option to cut them out of the equation is very possible and attractive with a Tangent panel PC. They are offered with 4-wire resistive touch or PCAP multi-touch screen to provide a range of functionality based on the client’s needs. Optional Intel Wireless AC-7260 and Bluetooth functionality also adds to the cord-cutting versatility of Tangent’s panel PC line.

Tangent took the extra step of ensuring that their medical tablets and industrial panel PCs are validated to be fully compliant with both Epic and Cerner applications, two of the biggest providers of health information technology solutions and services in the world. A lot of effort was put into creating a line of purpose built industrial panel PCs that would give medical practices powerful computing capabilities, ease-of-use, reliability, and to help avoid infection scares like with the fast food touchscreen fiasco. It’s a big enough scandal for a big name restaurant, but it would be catastrophic for a small health facility.

 

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One-Stop Patient Billing and Scheduling

One-Stop Patient Billing and Scheduling

 

A big part of a medical office’s interaction with patients involves scheduling and billing for their services. It’s not the most glamourous position to have and largely goes unnoticed, but it’s an extremely important role since medical schedulers and billers are the ones that ensure patients and insurance companies are charged accurately, are scheduled for important services, and that patients are reminded about their upcoming appointments. They keep medical practices in business and patients on time. For smaller practices, this role tends to fall on a small number of people running the front office doing intake for arriving patients, taking phone calls, receiving direction from doctors and nurse staff, and running around to provide medical records to staff as well. It can be a hectic set of expectations to fulfill, so organization and efficiency is key for a practice to run smoothly and on schedule. On the top of the list for maintaining an organized, successful business is having the right tools that not only meet it’s required functionality, but are also reliable, fast, and easy to use.

A medical tablet is a great way to integrate all of a medical front office’s needs into one convenient, flexible and cost efficient package. The Tangent M7 7” touchscreen is an excellent entry level medical tablet that allows staff to schedule and check in patients, scan barcodes on files or wrist bands, readily accept card payments and retrieve information from the internet all while being completely mobile. The tablet device can connect to wifi and bluetooth so that staff can actively work anywhere in the facility, especially with the handy strap on the back. An optional docking station is also available for stationary use and charging.

For a larger and more robust industrial grade tablet, the R10 10” tablet makes all-in-one computing seem effortless. With many of the same features as the M7, the R10 kicks it all up a notch with an Intel 3rd Gen Core i7 processor, a 480GB SSD hard drive, and 8GB of memory. The noticeably sturdy and rugged casing has been tested and proven to safeguard the medical tablet from falls, vibration and shaking. The optional combo data input accessory offers smart card, MSR (magnetic stripe reader), and fingerprint readers for easy access to the system and easy check out for patients. A fast check in and check out is so essential for keeping a patient flow in and out of the office steady and happy. My dentist’s office is staffed by some wonderful people but their payment machine is embarrassingly slow, they have paper files for each patient still, and a few computer systems that don’t appear to be linked to each other. I can’t imagine what a pain it must be to track all of that, and to do it largely manually. With the variety of medical tablets offered by Tangent, a patient-centric practice can be transformed into a streamlined workflow dream. They offer tablets from seven to thirteen inches to suit any desktop space, and have a wide variety of options amongst them to meet the unique business requirements of demanding medical operations, including billing and scheduling.